Marine Biology

, Volume 108, Issue 1, pp 97–103 | Cite as

Population differences in gonad and pyloric caeca cycles of the New Zealand seastarSclerasterias mollis (Echinodermata: Asteroidea)

  • M. F. Barker
  • R. A. Xu


Inshore and offshore populations ofSclerasterias mollis (Hutton, 1872) were sampled on the outer continental shelf off the Otago Peninsula, New Zealand, and their nutritional and reproductive cycles are described from 1985–1986. Histological changes in the gonads are generally typical of other asteroids. The gametogenic cycle takes 12 mo. The gonad and pyloric caeca indices in both females and males had an inverse relationship.S. mollis accumulates nutrients in the pyloric caeca during summer and early autumn. The gonads develop in the autumn and winter. Offshore seastars were much larger and had significantly higher gonad and pyloric caeca indices than inshore individuals. These differences in body sizes and organ indices arise from differences in food availability and/or population density.


Population Density Body Size Food Availability Inverse Relationship Continental Shelf 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Literature cited

  1. Beijnink, F. B., Voogt, P. A. (1985). Nutrient translocation in the sea star: whole-body and microautoradiography after ingestion of radiolabeled leucine and palmitic acid. Biol. Bull. mar. biol. Lab., Woods Hole 166: 669–682Google Scholar
  2. Chia, F. S. (1968). Some observations on the developmental and cyclic changes of the oocytes in a brooding starfish,Leptasterias hexactis. J. Zool., Lond. 154: 453–461Google Scholar
  3. Crump, R. G. (1971). Annual reproductive cycle in three geographically separated populations ofPatiriella regularis (Verrill), a common New Zealand asteroid. J. exp. mar. Biol. Ecol. 7: 137–162Google Scholar
  4. Crump, R. G., Barker, M. F. (1984). Sexual and assexual reproduction in geographically separated populations of the fissiparous asteroid,Coscinasterias calamaria (Gray). J. exp. mar. Biol. Ecol. 88: 109–127Google Scholar
  5. Davis, K. K. (1985). DNA synthesis and the annual spermatogenic cycle in individuals of the sea starPatiria miniata. Biol. Bull. mar. biol. Lab., Woods Hole 169: 313–327Google Scholar
  6. Ebert, T. A. (1967). Negative growth and longevity in the purple sea urchinStrongylocentrotus purpuratus (Stimpson). Science, N.Y. 157: 557–558Google Scholar
  7. Ebert, T. A. (1968). Growth rates of the sea urchinStrongylocentrotus purpuratus related to food availability and spine abrasion. Ecology 49: 1075–1091Google Scholar
  8. Farrand, A. L., Williams, D. C. (1988). Isolation, purification and partial characterization of four digestive proteases from the purple seastarPisaster ochraceus. Mar. Biol. 97: 231–236Google Scholar
  9. Ferguson, J. C. (1984). Translocative functions of the enigmatic organs of starfish — the axial organ, haemal vessels, Tiedemann's bodies, and rectal caeca: an autoradiographic study. Biol. Bull. mar. biol. Lab., Woods Hole 166: 140–155Google Scholar
  10. Giese, A. C., Pearse, J. S. (1974). Introduction: general principles. In: Giese, A. C., Pearse, J. S. (eds.) Reproduction of marine invertebrates. I. Acoelomate and pseudocoelomate metozoans. Academic Press. New York, p. 1–49Google Scholar
  11. Harrold, C., Pearse, J. S. (1980). Allocation of pyloric caecum reserves in fed and starved sea star,Pisaster giganteus (Stimpson): somatic maintenance comes before reproduction. J. exp. mar. Biol. Ecol. 48: 169–183Google Scholar
  12. Hawke, D. J. (1988). Aspects of the marine chemistry of phosphate. Ph. D. thesis. University of Otago, New ZealandGoogle Scholar
  13. Heezik, Y. van (1988). The growth and diet of the yellow-eyed penguinMegadyptes antipodes. Ph. D. thesis. University of Otago, New ZealandGoogle Scholar
  14. Lawrence, J. M. (1985). The energetic echinoderm. In: Keegan, B. F., O'Connor, D. S. (eds.) Echinodermata. A. A. Balkema, Rotterdam, p. 47–67Google Scholar
  15. Lawrence, J. M. (1987). Echinodermata. In: Pandian, T. J., Vernberg, F. J. (eds.) Animal energetics. Vol. 2. Bivalvia through Reptilia. Academic Press, Inc., San Diego, p. 229–321Google Scholar
  16. Lawrence, J. M.., Dehn, P. (1979). Biological characteristics ofLuidia clathrata (Echinodermata: Asteroidea) from Tampa Bay and the shallow waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Fla Scient. 42: 9–13Google Scholar
  17. Lawrence, J. M., Lane, P. (1982). The utilization of nutrients by post-metamorphic echinoderms. In: Jangoux, M., Lawrence, J. M. (eds.) Echinoderm nutrition. A. A. Balkema, Rotterdam, p. 331–372Google Scholar
  18. Mauzey, K. P. (1966). Feeding behavior and reproductive cycles inPisaster ochraceus. Biol. Bull. mar. biol. Lab., Woods Hole 131: 127–144Google Scholar
  19. McClintock, J. B., Pearse, J. S., Bosch, I. (1988). Population structure and energetics of the shallow-water antarctic sea starOdontaster validus in contrasting habitats. Mar. Biol. 99: 235–246Google Scholar
  20. Paine, R. T. (1976). Size-limited predation: an observational and experimental approach with theMytilus-Pisaster interaction. Ecology 57: 858–873Google Scholar
  21. Pearse, J. S. (1965). Reproductive periodicities in several contrasting populations ofOdontaster validus Koehler, a common Antarctic asteroid. Biology of the Antarctic seas. 11. Antarctic Res. Ser. 5: 39–85Google Scholar
  22. Scheibling, R. E. (1981). The annual reproductive cycle ofOreaster reticulatus (L.) (Echinodermata: Asteroidea) and interpopulation differences in reproductive capacity. J. exp. mar. Biol. Ecol. 54: 1–16Google Scholar
  23. Vevers, H. G. (1949). The biology ofAsterias rubens (L.). I. Growth and reproduction. J. mar. biol. Ass. U.K. 28: 165–187Google Scholar
  24. Walker, C. W. (1980). Spermatogenic columns, somatic cells, and the microenvironment of germinal cells in the testes of asteroids. J. Morph. 166: 81–107Google Scholar
  25. Walker, C. W. (1982). Nutrition of gametes. In: Jangoux, M., Lawrence, J. M. (eds.) Echinoderm nutrition. A. A. Balkema, Rotterdam, p. 449–468Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. F. Barker
    • 1
  • R. A. Xu
    • 1
  1. 1.Portobello Marine Laboratory and Department of ZoologyUniversity of OtagoDunedinNew Zealand

Personalised recommendations